From 4,000 resumes to 100 hires. In 12 days.

How our remote sourcing model during COVID-19 answered the call.

The Task

After their new client’s call center in Manila became vastly understaffed due to COVID-19 public transportation restrictions, our client, Unifin, Inc., needed to find and deploy workers in various remote locations around the world to jump in quickly. Unifin, who provides Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and Accounts Receivable Management, trusted us to deliver qualified call center manpower quickly to their banking services client.

With the bank’s understaffed call center being inundated with calls about stimulus checks and transferring money, and wait times verging on four hours, the request for additional call center staff was extremely urgent.

Clint Daoud, Partner, Unifin, Inc.: “The challenge was to be able to source, screen and hire a large number of people quickly. Our business is incumbent on sourcing and hiring quality talent. Since this was a new client for us, it was a chance to impress them with our service. So, for the front-end, recruiting portion of the engagement, we turned to KO Business Solutions because we trusted them to deliver.”

The Tactics

We were charged with sourcing and onboarding candidates domestically. Since we have the ability to issue payroll (another aspect of the engagement for Unifin) in 15 states, that is where we focused our recruiting efforts. Because we have perfected our high-volume remote recruitment process, it went like clockwork:

  • Defined job specs, skill requirements, and pay level, then posted positions online.
  • Received 4,000 resumes in three days.
  • KO Recruiting team began outreach/interviews to gauge interest level and validate experience.
  • Issued offer documents to prospective candidates.
  • For those interested in proceeding, conducted employment personality and basic grammar and math testing.
  • Facilitated another round of interviews.
  • Drilled down list of candidates based on capability, experience, background check and access to personal equipment and systems.
  • Issued final job offers.
  • Prepared final candidates for training and onboarded them for Unifin management to take over.

Clint: “The whole front-end process was turnkey—sourcing, vetting, hiring and onboarding. They worked round the clock, nights and weekends and did a fantastic job.”

Our involvement continues from an HR management and payroll perspective after the initial onboarding. We continue to be a point of contact for the 100 workers we placed and assist in the case of additional training issues, adding ever more value to Unifin.

The Talk

Clint: “I would highly recommend KO Business Solutions. They specialize in volume hires – when you need to bring in 10-20-50-100 agents in a short period of time. It’s a unique talent and not very easy to do.”

Scott Nicholson, Partner, KO Business Solutions: “This was a big, accelerated project. It took organized workflow, strategy and diligence from our team. I’m very proud of them, and confident in the quality of candidates we delivered.”

The Takeaway

For the past 3-4 years, new technology, platforms and tools have allowed us to perfect our virtual recruiting system, including a testing platform, applicant tracking system incorporating an API integration with Indeed, and a sophisticated remote interviewing platform to capture candidates’ responses. . As remote recruiting and working becomes further entrenched after COVID-19, this proven model can save our clients a lot of time, open up their pool of potential candidates in new geographic areas, and deliver superior recruiting and onboarding results.

If you can benefit from our services or would like to learn more, reach out to our Sales Specialists at (630) 230-6766.

The Ugly Truth About Recruiters – Part I

Let’s be honest, when it comes to searching and enlisting top talent, recruiters tend to get a bad reputation based on misleading notions that label them as something that they are not. As recruiters, our job is to assist our clients with finding the right talent to meet their company needs, as well as assist job seekers with positioning themselves to be marketable to employers – but most importantly, bridging the gap between these two entities. At KO Business Solutions, we value our reputation and more importantly, the trust of our clients and job seekers.  That’s why we are exposing the top 4 misleading notions for what they are and providing you with the ugly truths.  Our goal in doing so is that any fear, discomfort or confusion job seekers have toward recruiters will cease, and they can once again use recruiters as another valuable resource toward finding the next job opportunity and career that best suits them.


A Numbers Game – “Recruiters only care about meeting their goals!”

One of the biggest misconceptions that job seekers have expressed regarding recruiters is that recruiters view them as just another number added to the pile of hundreds of other job seekers searching for a new role. Job seekers can feel that recruiting is a numbers game, and that they are simply used to meet a goal quota. Most sadly, many job seekers do not believe that recruiters care about their personal employment needs or success in a new role.

The Ugly Truth:

Recruiters do have production goals to meet. However, recruiters see job seekers as much more than just another drop in the bucket to fill their goal requirements. Good recruiters view job seekers as important investments, ones in which a lot of time is spent coaching and mentoring.  To recruiters, it’s very important that we get to know a job seeker as an individual so that we can confidently and correctly align their career goals to appropriate opportunities as they become available.

As recruiters, we make sure job seekers have all the information about an open position so that they can make the best-informed decision for themselves. This includes providing them with who the client is, what the role entails, and what the client has to offer. Good recruiters even go the extra mile to make sure job seekers are marketing themselves appropriately and are well-equipped for interviews and the role they are applying for.  Involved in this process are resume critiques and edits which help the job seeker appeal to potential employers, as well as role playing different interview questions so that they feel prepared going into a live interview.  Other tools to use during an interview, such as the STAR method, are provided during this process.  Of course, this is all before a recruiter meets their goal.

So, let’s talk about after the goal has been met.  How does a recruiter prove that it’s not just a numbers game and that they do care about their recruits?  After a job seeker has been hired on as a new employee, we then serve as a resource and coach to help further their career development – after any goals have been met. To further prove this point, I’d like to share a personal experience. I once had a job seeker that went through our entire vetting process, was submitted to our client for an interview and was offered the position. (Numbers goal met.) After the first week of training, our client expressed concern for their new employee’s ability to grasp the job functions. As opposed to letting the employee slip through the cracks, I offered to assist with extra training outside of my recruiting schedule to ensure the job seeker would improve and be successful in the role. Together, the employee and I spent a couple of hours 2-3 days out of the week reviewing information that was provided during training, along with incorporating our in-house exercises to further drive the training process. As time went on, the amount of ongoing training decreased as the job seeker improved significantly, and our client was impressed and satisfied with their performance. (Real goal met = Successful Employee + Satisfied Employer).


Liar, Liar – “Recruiters oversell job opportunities!”

Job seekers have expressed doubt or uncertainty about information that is provided to them by recruiters. Touching back on the number’s aspect of recruiting, job seekers feel that recruiters will say just about anything to get them into a role just to meet their recruitment goals, even if that means overselling what a job can offer.

The Ugly Truth:

Some recruiters may provide the best aspects of an opportunity to a job seeker before getting to the nitty gritty just to catch the job seeker’s attention.  At KO Business Solutions, we value our integrity and know that, as recruiters, our job is never to lie or provide misleading information, but to provide job seekers with all the information gathered from our client, making sure that what the clients offers aligns with the job seekers requirements and vice versa. Having open communication and transparency with job seekers allows for reassurance and trust to be built, even before the hire date.

Here at KO Business Solutions, the first part of our process is to complete an in-depth job analysis with every client to ensure we have a clear understanding of the company, the role, and requirements for an individual to be a successful employee. Sometimes during the recruitment process, clients will restructure their requirements for a role. As a recruiter, it is imperative to be transparent with job seekers and timely communicate those changes – favorable or not. At KO Business Solutions, we’re aware of how valuable time is to a job seeker, and we’re careful not to waste it. Always being open about any information we have that pertains to a job opportunity alleviates the chances of time wasted – for all parties. Transparency also allows job seekers control in how they choose to proceed with the recruitment process.  At KO Business Solutions, we pride ourselves in providing a recruitment experience that is fostered on honest and timely communication with job seekers, which even extends throughout their time as a new employee.


No Benefits – “Staffing agencies don’t support my insurance needs!”

Job seekers assume that when they are being recruited by a talent acquisition firm, especially for a contract or contract-to-hire role, there are no benefits associated with the role. Therefore, many job seekers overlook or are skeptical about working as a temporary employee, even for a period of time.

The Ugly Truth:

It’s true – not all staffing agencies offer a benefits package… but that doesn’t mean it’s likely.  According to Flex Jobs, when working with a talent acquisition firm or staffing agency, most contracted W-2 employees are provided benefits through the agency. As is the case here at KO Business Solutions, where upon accepting a role, temporary employees can enroll for a generous benefits package which includes medical, dental, vision, and even employer-matching 401K.

At times there may be certain cases where this does not apply. For example, there may be a client looking to bring on an administrative assistant that is a 1099 contractor role. Based on the type of role the client is looking to fill, in this case it a 1099 role, there are no benefits associated with the role. Another case where benefits may not be offered is for a part time role, however that can also be dependent upon what the client offers and is agreed upon between the client and the agency.

In general, it is safe for job seekers to assume that benefits are offered through staffing agencies and talent acquisition firms and so, can be confident in working with one.


Nothing’s Free – “I have to pay you, in order for you to pay me?!”   

There have been times where I have been in the middle of outlining an employment opportunity to a job seeker and they have brought up the question, “How much do I have to pay to work with your firm?” or “How much money will be taken out of my paycheck to cover my costs for working with your agency?” Some job seekers have become turned off from working with talent acquisition firms due to the assumption that there is a cost associated with working for them.

The Ugly Truth:

Since I can’t speak for all staffing agencies out there, I can’t completely rule this one out for you.  However, normally, there is no extra cost that a job seeker or temporary employee must pay when working for a staffing agency or talent acquisition firm.  In majority of cases, the client and agency have established a “markup” fee within the contract. According to People Ready, clients are responsible for paying the agency a certain amount that covers pay for the employee, legal labor costs, taxes, and general and administrative expenses, thus eliminating costs to employees when hired on. The markup fee is what provides revenue to agencies for their services, and upon subtracting their operational costs and money spent on resources to find talented job seekers, a profit is accounted for.

Although this may be a reoccurring question brought up by job seekers due to past experiences with agencies, the cost to be a contracted employee through KO Business Solutions is covered by the client. As a talent acquisition firm, our duty is to help connect job seekers with meaningful and gratifying job opportunities, and when asked if employees have to pay to be a KO employee, I make it a point to be transparent with job seekers and help them to understand the logistics behind working with a talent acquisition firm to add to their toolbox of career-seeking tools.


In general, there are many misconceptions floating about that surround recruiters and talent acquisition firms.  By addressing them and facing them head on, we hope to allow recruiters the ability to be more cognizant of the recruitment experience they provide, as well as better equip job seekers with the truth that working with a recruiter can only benefit them and should be used as another resource when searching for a new job opportunity. In order to regain our reputation and set the record straight, it is imperative for recruiters to provide an experience for job seekers that is grounded on a foundation comprised of transparency, open communication, and an overall drive for wanting to place job seekers in great opportunities that set them up for career success.

KO Customer Spotlight – ECSI

As we celebrate our 3 year anniversary, we couldn’t be more proud of the partnerships we’ve developed with our highly valued clients. We would like to take a moment to spotlight loan management company, ECSI.

I was able to speak with Director of Servicing Operations, Mike Bowman, about ECSI’s service offerings, business challenges and even, what he believes is on the horizon when it comes to staffing and retaining great employees.  I’m excited to share these insights with you!


Q. So Mike, what would you say is challenging about managing a call center in the world of loan management today vs. 5-10 years ago?

A. I think you could ask that same question regardless of industry, Shannon. When anyone contacts your call center today they continue to expect correct, friendly, and helpful assistance, but they also don’t want to wait on hold and they want to be able to contact you through the channel of their choice.

In order to accommodate our customers today we use self-help IVRs, live chat, email, and text messaging in addition to phones as communication channels. Three years ago digital communication made up 10% of our overall traffic. Today, it accounts for 40% of our overall traffic!

Q. Wow!  That’s interesting.  I can imagine many of your competitors see that change as well.  How does ECSI ensure what their offering stands out among the competition?

A. We believe our staff is the number one difference. The company spends a lot of time training staff to become industry and subject matter experts in all things loan servicing. Our clients (and their students) get access to highly skilled business partners; people who are knowledgeable but also creative in solving complex and unique challenges.

Secondly, our quality of work. We take great pride in our productivity, but also our quality assurance. While there are a large number of entities that audit us and watch our work, no one is harder on ECSI than ECSI. We invest heavily in checking our work from legal, accuracy, regulatory, and factual perspectives so our clients never have to worry about the quality of work we provide them.

Q. I love that…  “No one is harder on ECSI than ECSI”.  Aside from the training you mentioned, how else does ECSI invest in their staff and keep them engaged?

A. Employee engagement has always been in the top 5 objectives ECSI sets for itself each year. We began a strategic effort to improve employee engagement in 2017 when we noted how high our turnover rate was. We wanted to create a culture where employees didn’t just “stick around” but willingly contributed their very best effort.

Since 2017 our turnover rate has significantly improved and people are staying with the company. For example, during 2018, 52% of our staff had been with the company less than just one year. Now, in April of 2019, just 21% of our staff has been here less than one year.

Some things ECSI does to keep staff engaged are 1) employee led department meetings, 2) career pathing, 3) formal training paths, 4) job shadowing, 5) regular team huddles and employee / supervisor one-to-ones, 6) company meetings, and 7) monthly lunches with our company executive.

Q. Wow!  It sounds like the staff at ECSI has many reasons to stay motivated and contribute.  In working with ECSI, I can say that I’ve felt that positive energy.  I’d also say that in a short amount of time, KO Business Solutions and ECSI have forged a strong partnership. Would you agree?

A. We like the KO Management. They are seasoned service and operations pros. It is not uncommon for our two groups to share ideas, collaborate on service projects, or troubleshoot problems together. Each group has its strengths and we have found that our backgrounds and experiences work well together.


Should you find yourself in need of hiring help and are looking for a true partner – not just a vendor, we hope you’ll contact us to talk about your business needs.  I’d like to thank Mike Bowman, Director of Servicing Operations at ECSI, again for speaking with me and allowing me to share his thoughts!  For more information on ECSI, please visit their website.



Implementing Employee Retention Strategies = #Relationship Goals

It’s no secret that the largest percentage of most businesses’ profit and loss statement is wages and salaries. Attrition within the first 90 days is a bit hit to P&L – up to 33% an individuals’ salary or more if occurred before Day 45!  There are many negatives to losing an employee early beyond financial loss. It can really hurt morale, due to feelings of time wasted and starting back at the hiring drawing board. If discussion and implementation of employee retention strategies isn’t happening at your company, it should be! Here are some reasons why and a solution to consider.

Not Married Yet!

Most companies assume the onboarding process is complete at offer acceptance – but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Research shows that the onboarding process needs to continue with frequent contact after hire, especially within the first 45 days and even up to 90 days post hire.

Because in this competitive job market, just because your new employee agreed to your offer, it doesn’t mean they are fully committed.  They’re not married to the job — yet. In fact, 20% of all attrition occurs within the first 45 days after hire, and 17% within the first 90 days.

Why is this? The top three reasons new hires (even very qualified ones) leave too soon include miscommunication regarding job responsibilities, feelings of unpreparedness for the role due to poor training, and lack of a supportive community in the workplace.

Competition is Fierce

The issue of attrition is a long-known one, but it’s worse today than ever before. In this tight job market, unemployment rates are at record low, and job-seekers have many suitors. In fact, unemployment rates are predicted to continue to drop slightly lower in 2019, from 3.9% to 3.6%. Because of this, candidates know they have options, and they’re not only looking for top dollar, but the most ideal overall employment situation possible.

All About Engagement

So if you’ve made a great hire, and you want to keep them engaged and productive, what’s the solution? Should you consider investing more in corporate gimmicks, like free lunches and a ping pong table in the breakroom? Possibly, but surface level solutions won’t work in the long run. Like any successful relationship, commitment and communication is key.

What we’ve seen time and time again is that a happy marriage between a job and an employee requires a clearly defined and regularly practiced employee-focused engagement and training program, not just for 30 days, but during an extended onboarding period, such as 90 days from hire.

During this time, your employee should have the chance to speak with someone regularly whom they feel safe with, in a setting where they can disclose their real concerns and questions. They should have regular opportunities get clarification regarding job responsibilities, check-in on training progress and roadblocks, while feeling truly supported regarding challenges and accomplishments in their new position. Your goal should be to provide an employee to trainer/HR person ratio of 5:1, which will allow for the appropriate amount of time to focus on the development of each new hire.

From what we see day in and day out, this is a far cry from what is happening today in many businesses. A medium-sized company has a training class of approximately 10-20 new hires with only one training manager to oversee them all. This is a recipe for attrition, because new employees, just like new relationships, need time, attention and care if you want them to blossom.

A Solution to Consider

If you’re thinking that all this talk about employee retention strategies sounds good, but that you don’t have the time, expertise or staff to get it done, we have a solution. At KO, we follow retention best practices and have a 5:1 ratio of staff solely dedicated to employee engagement during their first 90 days from hire for all our clients. This means if you begin hiring through us, you will become part of the family and our time-tested, successful traditions. Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways we help clients with employee retention strategies every day.

Hiring Check-Ins: We schedule check-ins with newly hired staff, providing that outlet employees need that is separate from their employer, and where they feel safe to disclose their challenges. We then provide you with feedback and recommendations on a regular basis, so you have the insights you need to potentially make adjustments with retention in mind.

Training: We offer individual training programs custom to each hire, in areas such as technological abilities, communication to customer service skills, TCPA Compliance, call management, first call resolution and handling rebuttals.

Efficiency: When it comes to making the employee training and engagement process efficient, we have you covered. A great advantage is that we can tailor training and communication sessions to meet your needs, including scheduling them outside regular work hours which keeps your new employee focused while on the job.

Worth the Work

And the payoff? Our employee retention strategies are proven to reduce early attrition by 25%! In addition, you can expect to see improved employee satisfaction, productivity, and quality of work.

Employee retention shouldn’t be an afterthought. It needs to take high priority to positively affect your P&L, keep morale high and allow your business to thrive. If you’d like to discuss this topic and how KO can assist your business in finding and retaining high quality talent, get in touch. We’ll help you create some long-lasting relationships to show off and be proud of! (aka #relationshipgoals!)

Digital Hiring Tools: Changing the Recruiting Game

hiring tools

Digital transformation appears to be unstoppable, and it’s definitely affecting recruiting. Without a doubt, we are seeing a process evolution based on digital hiring tools and technologies that increase efficiency and candidate engagement.  In a recent blog, we discussed today’s tough recruiting market and how there are more jobs available than job seekers. For your company and recruiters to stand out, you need an agile hiring process and top notch ways to evaluate and engage with candidates. Using digital hiring tools can help.

Making Connections

The use of video conferencing for interviews is not new, and in fact, it’s almost become standard. It’s an excellent method of engaging with candidates and conducting first interviews, allowing for a visual connection. In addition, video interviews are time efficient for both the candidate and recruiter.

When it comes to making connections – going mobile is key. 95% of Americans own cellphones, and 75% own smartphones. That percentage will only continue to grow. With that said, texting candidates is a totally acceptable technique and there are technology platforms available that utilize chatbots to respond to basic texted questions and set interview appointments. Chatbots can also handle initial pre-screening of candidates for some positions.

Artificial Intelligence

Chatbots are forms of artificial intelligence (AI) and these digital recruiting tools go from the basic to the more advanced. When it comes to sourcing candidates, AI can play a strong role, automating the match of talent profiles and resumes to job description, helping to parse the initial candidate pool.

AI can also launch an email or text to invite the candidate for a screening interview, allowing candidates to select convenient times for interviews prior to any intervention by a recruiter. In today’s digital world, candidates are becoming more used to AI as a hiring tool. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Allegis Group found that 58% of respondents were comfortable interacting with chatbots to answer initial questions, and more than 60% were are comfortable with chatbots scheduling interviews.

Digital Assessments

Another way recruiting is evolving is through the use of predictive analytics, gleaned from digital assessments. These tools measure and validate the specific placement of a candidate.

There are many software and web-based tools available that assess behavior, cognitive skills and predict a candidate’s success in a role.

We are big proponents of using assessments, as they help show how sincere a candidate is about the job they are applying for, they help employers make stronger hiring decisions and reduce turnover. They’re not utilized by all clients – but should be – as they provide a deeper understanding of a candidate’s abilities beyond what is represented on their resume.

While using digital tools and techniques certainly can’t be the only way you connect, using technology can definitely help you streamline your hiring process and stay engaged with candidates.

We’re always searching for ways to utilize new technology and we’re successfully using all the digital hiring tools and techniques outlined here (and more!) in our recruitment efforts each day. If your company is looking to add staff, and you’re in need of hiring help, get in touch, we’d be happy to assist.

4 Winning Hiring Ideas for Today’s Tight Labor Market

Hiring Ideas

With 6.66 million job openings in the United States and only 6.56 million people reporting that they’re seeking work, many of my clients, partners and colleagues are searching for hiring ideas and tips. Finding the perfect employee to hire for your business has never been easy, but lately it’s become a whole lot harder. For three straight months, the number of vacancies at businesses nationwide has topped the number of unemployed people, and this summer, the U.S. jobless rate hit an 18-year low (3.8%).

So, how do you hire the right individual when the labor market is tight? It may sound simple, but the key is to make sure your opportunity is the most appealing to candidates. Job-seekers today have different internal motivations and high expectations for companies.  What’s important is more than the pay rate for many – and almost all are looking for an empathetic and inspiring culture.

4 Ways to Win:

Keeping these four hiring ideas at the forefront, you’re sure to attract the right candidate:

  1. Timeliness: Ensure you have an extremely efficient recruiting process in place. Look critically at how long it takes you from posting, through interviews to offer letter. With more jobs than seekers, the best candidates will be attracted to the most responsive opportunity.
  2. Focus on outcomes: Evaluate key criteria for jobs and role behaviors. Be ready to lift educational requirements if they aren’t totally relevant to the job and determine if specific years’ worth of experience can be replaced by a person’s potential ability.
  3. Training: If you don’t have a robust training plan in place, now is the time to create one and see it through. In a tight job market like this one, you need to hire for a good culture fit, and train for success.
  4. Plan for the future: For every role you’re hiring for, you need to have thought through and documented a meaningful career path and share it during the hiring process. This will stand out to the candidate, and once hired, it will serve as inspiration for the job.

Implementing these hiring ideas will give you an edge that will allow you to efficiently and effectively identify, hire and train candidates who demonstrate potential success given the correct support. And remember, don’t find reasons not to hire someone, look for tendencies in which they might succeed!

Hiring Ideas & Resources to Consider

At KO Business Solutions, we have extensive hiring experience, working closely with our clients in a wide variety of industries to determine what their labor needs are, and how they can bring in the best candidates. We also deploy pre-employment tests and appropriate scorecard systems to measure key attributes.

With a documented scoring system in place, you will feel more confident in opening your search to a broader pool of people who may lack direct, relevant experience, but demonstrate the attributes that will make them productive in the role and a good culture fit. If you’re looking for hiring help, get in touch. We’d be happy to lend a hand.